March 19 (UPI) -- Obese people with type 2 diabetes can improve their conditions with a high-energy breakfast but a smaller lunch and dinner, according to research from Israel.
The diet promotes weight loss, improves diabetes and decreases the need for insulin, according to research presented Saturday at ENDO 2018, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago.
"This study shows that, in obese insulin-treated type 2 diabetes patients, a diet with three meals per day, consisting of a big breakfast, average lunch and small dinner, had many rapid and positive effects compared to the traditional diet with six small meals evenly distributed throughout the day: better weight loss, less hunger and better diabetes control while using less insulin," lead study author Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, professor of medicine at Tel Aviv University, said in an Endocrine Society press release.
The key is when the meals are consumed, and their frequency.
"The hour of the day-when you eat and how frequently you eat is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat," she said. "Our body metabolism changes throughout the day. A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening."
Studied were 11 women and 18 men who averaged 69 years old who were obese with type 2 diabetes and were being treated with insulin. Their diets contained an equal number of daily calories for three months of 1,600 calories. One group ate three meals: a large breakfast, a medium-sized lunch and a small dinner. The second group ate the traditional diet for diabetes and weight loss: six small meals evenly spaced throughout the day, including three snacks.
The overall glucose levels and glucose spikes of participants were measured during the first two weeks on the diet, and at the end of the study by continuous glucose monitoring.
"Obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes often require high total daily insulin dose, which leads to weight gain and further increase of TDID leading to persistent hyperglycemia, a vicious cycle ever-increasing TDID, and a high risk for diabetes complications," the researchers wrote in the study, which has not yet been published.
For three months, those eating three meals lost 11 pound and the others gained 3 pounds.
With fasting glucose levels, the three-meal-a-day group decreased from 161 to 107, but the other group only saw their levels drop from 164 to 141.
Overall mean glucose levels dropped in the first 14 days from 167 to 138 in the balance diet and from 167 to 129 in the other group.
Those in the three-meal diet needed significantly less insulin, and saw reductions to their cravings and hunger.
The control group, however, needed more insulin and their hunger and cravings increased.
"The meal timing schedule, with high energy breakfast diet should be a strategy to improve diabetes control and outcome," the researchers concluded.